Anxiety in children can be really hard to understand and even harder to deal with. The past 6 or so months i’ve been worried about Pops and as an anxious person I feel like I see so much in her what I see in myself. I’m fully aware that it’s most likely my own anxiety that has rubbed off on her but anxiety in children can occur even when parents don’t have it.
What are the signs of anxiety in children?
- finding it hard to concentrate
- not sleeping, or waking in the night with bad dreams
- not eating properly
- quickly getting angry or irritable, and being out of control during outbursts
- constantly worrying or having negative thoughts
- feeling tense and fidgety, or using the toilet often
- always crying
- being clingy
- complaining of tummy aches and feeling unwell
- start avoiding everyday activities, such as seeing friends, going out in public or attending school
- lack the confidence to try new things or seem unable to face simple, everyday challenges
obviously it’s hard because a lot of these can be normal child behaviour too. As a parent you get to know your kids and when something seems off and you feel like they have started to behave like this when they never did before then it’s worth looking into.
How to help anxiety in children?
The first thing to do is talk with your little one, if they are young they won’t be able to understand what the feeling of anxiety is so it’s best not to mention that to any child. Start by talking through their day but let them lead the conversation. Be a safe place for them to let our their worries, fears and feelings without judgement.
As hard as it may feel it’s not your job to fix everything all the time, like grown ups sometimes kids need to just let their feelings out. Being too overprotective will only make their anxiety worse.
Another thing you could do with your little one is to practice relaxation techniques like meditation. There are some really good free apps and youtube videos for this. You should also make a little safe space that is calming for your little one to go to if they need some time alone. Kids need their own space too.
Things you can buy / make to help with their anxiety;
Such a clever little book that helps your child ‘talk’ about their worries using the prompts on the pages.
Something for you and your little one to read together. Check out the look inside on amazon to check out if you like it. They also do one for self esteem.
A journal or diary is a great way for your little one to get out their feelings and this one is amazing because it gives your little ones reasons to be happy and helps keep them motivated.
We have just bought a Worry Monster for Pops. I got the keyring version and she has already really taken to it and written some little notes to go inside.
This kit is so sweet, The mini worry plaque glows red when you’re telling it your worries and then green when the fairies have taken it away. This is something I can see really helping younger kids. If the worry monster we got doesn’t work this is my next try!
If you don’t feel like any of these help and your little one is still showing signs of anxiety then make them an appointment at the GP.
Do you think your child has anxiety? What signs did you notice?
Until the next post.